February 27


Lions Commemorate Black History Month with a Showcase of Black Excellence

February 27, 2024

On Saturday, February 24th, The Brooklyn Canarsie Lions celebrated Black History Month at Canarsie Ascend/Holy Family Auditorium, located at 9719 Flatlands Avenue, with the presentation of a show titled “I Am Black Excellence.”

The event kicked off with the Children’s Chorus from P.S./I.S. 66 reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” followed by the Step Team who performed some amazing dances.

Later, they lifted their young voices in unison and belted out Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” which is considered to be an indictment of discrimination, oppression and the impact of slavery on people of African descent. The audience was also regaled with selections by Rhythm in Blue Drummers who performed dances accompanied by djembe drumming, an African tradition that signifies gathering together in peace.

State Senator Kevin Parker (SD 21) performed another African tradition, the pouring of libations or wetting of the ground as it is also referred to.  In African culture, this ritual is considered to be the most sacred act of ancestral veneration. It involves speaking the ancestors’ names and imploring their guidance and protection while the libation (in this case water) is poured. Reading from a booklet, the senator said:

“For Garvey, Muhammad, Malcolm and King: We Say ashay! For Harriet, Fannie Lou, Sojourner, Bethune and Nat Turner and all the others who dared to define, defend and develop our interests as a people: we say ashay! For our children and the fuller and freer lives they will live because we struggle: we say ashay! For Kawaida and the Nguzo Saba, the new system of views and values which give identity, purpose and direction to our lives: we say ashay!

Others spoke of the tribulations that their black ancestors endured, like surviving being crammed into the bellies of slave ships; being used for scientific experiments, operated on without anesthesia – “and yet we rise!” a tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou and fitting example of black excellence.

Speaker Calvin Clark, a local black entrepreneur and philanthropist, reminded all that Black History is American History and stated, “ To be able to stand on the shoulders of those who endured and sacrificed so much, I am unapologetically black!”


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